This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Kay Brooks
When Ruan announces that he is getting married and wants all his family around him, Tamsyn faces leaving her home in Paris, her job in fashion, her aloof, popular French lover and everything that has grounded her for the past years of her life. Her intentions to arrive looking completely altered – ideally sophisticated and successful – are scuppered by a huge storm that has taken Cornwall by surprise, flooding and destroying buildings and homes. Next arrives a man who, in Tamsyn’s opinion, is far too attractive to be a vicar, and an abandoned baby desperately in need of care that only Tamsyn can provide.
Tamsyn doesn’t exactly make the best impression when she first arrives in Poldore and her likeability factor increases as the reader learns more about her. Her habit of saying whatever she thinks without filter endeared her straight away. The strong, confident woman image that she hopes to create is clearly a façade to hide a lost person trying to deal with the tragedy of the past and find who she is. Her actual personality is completely at odds with the selfish, capitalist view of typical fashionistas in novels such as The Devil Wears Prada and this is more a story of learning how to create a space for yourself rather than how to ‘fit in with the in crowd’. Tamsyn believes she has no maternal instincts, yet she seems to help people and take them under her wing without effort or judgement.Annoyingly, some of the situations that should have been more about the other characters did start to revolve around Tamsyn, but there were so many other interesting personalities, this novel would make an excellent TV drama, where Tamsyn’s story was just the beginning. I was interested to learn that several of the characters, including Ruan, his wife-to-be Alex and a lovable, old dog called Bouy were featured in an earlier Scarlett Bailey novel called Just for Christmas. Tamsyn’s sisters are also intriguing and I was especially interested in the troubled church verger, Catriona. The stereotypical view of teenagers grated on me slightly. There seemed to be very little swearing until a group of bitchy, cruel teenage girls entered the storyline and I can’t help thinking, especially as a teacher, that it would be good to show that there are a variety of different personality-types when it comes to this particular age group.
In between the drama of postnatal depression, grieving, and post-traumatic-stress-disorder, there is also a lot of comedy in this emotional novel, including witty one-liners thrown between Tamsyn and her quietly annoying twin nephews, who refuse to believe for one second that she doesn’t absolutely adore them.
A novel full of feeling that left me wanting to have more of an effect on the lives of others.